1 John 2:18
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” 
John, though he lived over nineteen hundred years ago, considered himself in the last time because of the rise of many antichrists. Therefore, it would be safe to assume this same sign is the perfect gauge of ‘when’ the world is now. Couple John’s statement with the warning of perilous times from Paul in 2nd Timothy chapter three, and a true prophetic picture begins to take shape. One need look no further than the headlines of any news source to realize the man of sin is on the rise.
Many will take the last statement as an affront to the pre-tribulational viewpoint, as the man of sin cannot be revealed until the restrainer is taken out of the way (2 Thess 2:7). While it is true that the lawless one, the antichrist, will remain in the shadows until the bride of Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, is raptured—before the coming Tribulation—it is also true that those living in the last days can know they are because of the rise of many antichrists, just as John indicates. So, one must wonder, why the sudden rise of so many who oppose Christ?
The short answer is the church is beginning to lose its salt and light. You see, God chose a marvelous method of restraint. He did not place a strong man in charge of things here on earth who would keep lawlessness in check. No, He chose to indwell the meek and humble of every nation, tribe, and tongue with His Spirit. Therefore, His restraining influence was shed abroad in the hearts of believers (Rom 5:5), just like salt that is shaken over a meal to season it. Though the salt does not represent the bulk of the meal, it savors it thoroughly.
Light works by the same principle. In fact, Jesus called believers the light of the world, a city on the hill which cannot be hidden (Matt 5:14). The chief problem is fewer are coming to Christ in these last days, which means fewer lights on fewer hills. Unfortunately, reduced light allows greater darkness which, in turn, affords the rise of more antichrists. The true cause of this spiritual lethargy is multifaceted.
The primary reason for the waning influence of the church is the fact that much of what calls itself the church is but a shell of what was once a magnificent restraining organism. Indeed, not long ago, the church was so influential that mankind had a great sense of right and wrong. This is no longer the case. In fact, one could argue that men are on the cusp of becoming just like those of the antediluvian period who, through continually evil thoughts, brought about the judgment of the flood (Gen 6:5). You could say that group had become very anti-God, just as those who live today are becoming the many antichrists spoken of by John. How did this happen?
The answer to this question is really quite simple. Many of today’s churches are busy as can be building the physical church. This church-centric focus often leads to doing whatever it takes to find attendees, regardless of their spiritual state. They can be just as worldly as they want for as long as they want as long as they come to church. While coming to church is not a bad thing on its own, the fact that those who do darken the doors are entertained into staying instead of being called to repentance means many only attend church while never being saved. Worse yet, in order to keep the lost in the pews, the leadership must avoid preaching, which calls for repentance and righteous living. Thus, the very establishment that is supposed to be set apart for the faithful has turned into the greatest enabler of fleshly living.
Perhaps the only good news that can come from it is this may be the group that will become part of the Tribulation saints, martyred for their faith. 
A biblical example is available, which will shed a great deal of light on this situation. Noah, after hearing the Word of God of impending judgment, also began to build. However, he did not focus on what would make him comfortable on this earth. Instead, he poured his energies into fulfilling the will of God by constructing a colossal boat that, due to the sheer dimensions alone, would have taken many years to complete. The ark is a perfect representation of Christ, who will call the faithful into the safe place just before great calamity strikes. In Noah’s day, this cataclysm was the flood. In these last days, the coming apocalypse is known as the Tribulation.
Noah is noted to have been a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet 2:5). His preaching was, therefore, far different than the preaching of many so-called church leaders today. In fact, some of the largest churches are so far from preaching righteousness that they could be considered nothing more than social clubs. The truest danger of this type of religious organization is the attendees get just enough of God’s Word to cause them to feel safe, just like the recipient of a flu shot or any other vaccine. Invariably, when asked about their faith, these will always point to their church or ministry leaders as the reason for their hope. This is an unfortunate side effect of not having a true relationship with the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Jesus spoke about these types of churches when addressing the church in Laodicea, the lukewarm church. This church is easily identifiable by the fact that, while they say they are rich and in need of nothing, they are actually, as Jesus put it, “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked (Rev 3:18).” The best news about this type of church attendee is Jesus is always ready to come in and sup with those who repent (Rev 3:19-20). Therefore, quickly turning from an errant path is crucial as it is very clear the Lord is coming soon. Besides, repentance has some truly exciting benefits.
True repentance will cause two things. First, the light of Jesus will once again shine brightly in the overcomer, which may provide much-needed illumination to those in close proximity. Second, Jesus promises those who come to Him in true repentance a seat in His throne with Him (Rev 3:21). With this in mind, examine your church and make sure it is God-fearing, Jesus-loving, and rapture ready.
Some may be saying right about now, hold on a minute; you are bringing the fire. Well, imagine for a moment, you are Noah and you are commissioned to build the ark. Since you are a preacher of righteousness, and you now know the Lord is about to bring massive judgment, what would you do? Undoubtedly, you said, preach with as much fervor as possible, warning everyone you come into contact with that the end is near. Now, consider how Noah felt as he neared completion of the ark. Surely, he knew a built ark meant that God’s judgment was truly imminent. Oh, but what about when the animals began to arrive? How do you think this affected Noah’s preaching? If you are honest, you would have to say you would be screaming from the rooftops that the judgment of the Lord is coming. This is exactly what the rapture-ready church is doing right now.
Those who have listened to God’s imploration to study and rightly apply His Word in order to not be ashamed (2 Tim 2:15) know the signs of the times, and they are busy warning everyone who will listen of the coming calamity called the “Day of the Lord.” For the saved, this brings encouragement that the rapture is ever closer. To the lost, this warning may be enough to cause them to at least listen to someone share the Word of God. The great thing about this is the very faith needed to be saved is garnered by just such hearing (Rom 10:14-15). 
One additional point should be made here. Though many churches are off task, this is not the only reason for the ‘apostasia‘ being experienced today. Invoking Noah’s story again may help. Noah, a preacher of righteousness, worked for years on an ark that he knew was the only salvation available. One would be hard-pressed to believe he left off from preaching during this time. Instead, as previously mentioned, his preaching would have become even more fervent. Yet, only his immediate family went into the ark. This indicates that, even though the faithful remnant church is feverously heralding the coming judgment, the hearts of men have grown cold toward God, and they no longer want to hear about the only name whereby they may be saved – Jesus (Acts 4:12).
Before leaving the narrative of the first worldwide judgment, one would be remiss to avoid one very important question. How did all but eight individuals come to be so anti-God that they missed the boat, literally? The simple answer is found in another highly debated passage:
“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”
Two groups vie for preeminence in regard to whether or not ‘the sons of God’ are angels or men. Those who come down on the side of these being angels point to the coupling of angels and the daughters of men explaining the appearance of ‘Nephilim,’ which are commonly called giants. They also invariably attribute Noah’s being ‘perfect’ in his generation to the fact that the DNA of all others had been corrupted, which caused God to start over with the only pure DNA available, that of Noah.
The second group believes the statement ‘the sons of God’ refers to the line of Seth, who had begun to call upon the name of the Lord (Gen 4:26). They argue that those who were set apart by reverencing God once again, meaning these picked up the worship of God dropped by their forefathers, began to marry the daughters of the ungodly, which brought about the nearly universal moral pollution of mankind by the time of Noah. These two theories are far too expansive to cover in detail in the space permitted here. Therefore, a future article will deal with this fascinating clash of opinions.
Ultimately, either of the views just mentioned brings the world to the same point of judgment seen at the flood. Think of it this way: either way, mankind was so corrupt that they left the proper position of looking up to God and allowed their gaze to settle on something inferior to God, which unfortunately brought about their own demise. The main point of delving into the controversy is to show that no matter what the reason, man is responsible for how they interact with God. You see, God’s desire to commune with man has never changed. Therefore, it has always been man that has fallen away.
The severity of the current falling away is clearly on display. All one has to do is visit a church that preaches and teaches righteousness. Two distinct things will immediately come to your attention. First, the youth will be all but absent, and those who are in attendance (usually on their cell phones) are only there because their parents drug them there. The second sad fact that hits you are the many spaces in the pews or seats which were once filled with the faithful who are now gone on to be with Jesus. This brings up another point: those who are going on are not being replaced, which hearkens back to the point about fewer lights on fewer hills and less seasoning of society. Thus, the great falling away.
This brings us back to the main point of this study, the man of sin arising. Paul spoke of the much-debated ‘great falling away’ in his letter to the church in Thessalonica. This term has been considered by some of the greatest eschatologists, and two distinct opinions have seemingly formed. One group says this is to be seen as the rapture, and the other group sees this as a great rebellion against God. Let’s take a brief look at both of these conclusions.
The first group bases their belief of the great falling away being the rapture on the fact that the Greek word for this phrase is transliterated as ‘apostasia,‘ which can be translated into the word ‘departure,’ which leads to the obvious conclusion that this statement is placing the rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
The second group, ironically, uses the same word ‘apostasia‘ as their key word. However, they translate this as ‘rebellion or defection,’ which is far different than the opposing group’s translation. This, in turn, causes this group to see the great falling away as the greatest rejection of God since just before the flood of Noah’s day (Gen 6). The age-old question is, which group is correct?
Perhaps the simplest way to determine this is to examine the text at hand:
2 Thessalonians 2:3
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”
Notice, two specific events are described in this passage: A falling away will happen first, and the man of sin will be revealed after. Nothing in the passage says these two events will happen one right after the other. Indeed, the context of the entire passage from verse one to twelve suggests that the restrainer will be taken out of the way in between the two events. Here are verses 7 & 8:
2 Thessalonians 2:7-8
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”
By considering the words of John the apostle, that many antichrists were already on the scene in his day, it is quite possible that the ‘apostasia‘ seen in verse 3 is, indeed, the great falling away of men from God, just like before the flood, which brings about the removal of the restrainer at the rapture, just before the judgment of the Tribulation.
God provided the perfect example of this in the narrative surrounding the first global judgment: Noah, the only remaining preacher of righteousness, could easily be considered a type of the church in function in the sense of being the restrainer before the flood since God did not bring the flood until he was safely in the ark. The best news about this is the rapture-ready church will be in heaven above the judgment, just like Noah rode above the floodwaters in the ark.
The obvious argument group one will present to counter this conclusion is that the church is not to be here when the antichrist is revealed. Again, the simplest answer is, the church is not. The long answer is, the reason the church is gone is an event that happens in between the falling away of verse three and the revealing of the wicked one of verse eight; the restrainer (the Spirit indwelt church) is removed from the earth in the rapture. You see, verses four through six describe the man of sin, not the falling away. Verse seven clearly depicts the removal of the church before the revelation of the antichrist in verse eight.
Therefore, the great falling away can be seen as the man of sin arising but not yet revealed, which is evident by the number of antichrists coalescing into a massive group that wants to have nothing whatsoever to do with God. These will readily receive the son of perdition, who will lead them into swift destruction. Sadly, many of today’s youth are being led astray by the antichrists already on the scene in every facet of society. Indeed, they are leading our young ones away from the church and toward an empty promise of utopia here on earth. 
By the way, parents—wake up, remove your children from the indoctrination camps known as institutes of higher learning where they are partaking from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, just like Adam and Eve in Genesis chapters two and three. Most of these schools are teaching more about ‘what’ to think than ‘how’ to think critically. This explains why they are leaving the church in droves. They have been misled by the minions of Satan into believing they can be as God.
This is proven out by the other vein of today’s study. Two types of churches are present on earth at the moment. The true, rapture-ready church, which teaches that Jesus is the only way, is seeing its numbers diminish, while the counterfeit church and there anything goes stance is growing exponentially. Sadly, many in the latter church will be left behind simply because their faith is not in Christ. Instead, they are trusting in church attendance or any other number of works for their salvation, all of which are pointless without first having experienced salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Remember, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17).
Men stopped calling on the name of the Lord before the flood. Likewise, the world in which we live is filled with those who reject God. Many antichrists have risen to power in every facet of society, and their influence is turning the masses away from God and toward man. Throughout history, this has always been the pattern: God blesses a people, and they, in their need-nothing state, turn from relying on God to depending on their own strength and wisdom.
This can be seen as the man of sin arising because sin is simply doing things ‘not’ God’s way. Incredibly, many songs and slogans have depicted this very stance. One needs only to remember the old song, I did it my way; or the lyrics, it’s your thing—do what you wanna do; or the fast-food slogan, have it your way—have it your way. Each of these expressions depicts the rise of the man of sin as they are rooted in the idea that man can be as God, which is the root of all lies. But that is for another article.
Website: In His Commission
March 29th, 2022
 “Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the King James Version.”
 For greater understanding, see the article, “Open Letter to Those Who Miss the Rapture.”
 For greater understanding, see the article, “The End Has Come: What Now?”
 For greater understanding, see the article, “Heaven of Earth Bound?“